Shortage of teachers for disabled students

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 30 Mar 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a shortage of special education teachers for disabled students, especially in the fields of dyslexia and autism. 

Deputy director-general of Education (Special Education Department) Siti Zaharah Mat Akib said most teachers currently opt to specialise in teaching the blind and deaf.  

“We are currently training more teachers but this takes time,” she said at a roundtable discussion on education of the disabled through collaboration, organised by the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam). 

She said 150 teachers had been recruited during the latest intake to be trained in various fields. 

“It is not easy to teach these children as each child is different and will have various needs.  

“We also can’t afford to do one-to-one teaching so we need students who can at least take care of themselves such as using the toilet on their own,” she said. 

At present, she said parents could send their special children to schools run by the ministry, private schools, centres run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or be taught at home by their parents.  

Later, in answer to a query on a lack of special education teachers in the state from Sarawak Society for Parents of Handicapped Children honorary secretary Ng Kui Choo, Siti Zaharah said the department was trying its best to place teachers everywhere. 

“We are hoping to place more teachers in Sarawak once they graduate,” she said. 

Suhakam commissioner and education working group chairman Prof Dr Chiam Heng Keng said it was difficult to get people to teach disabled children as not many were interested.  

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